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Legal News: SCOTUS Blocks Inmate Execution without Pastor

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The U.S. Supreme Court ("SCOTUS") refused to allow Alabama to execute an Alabama inmate if he is not allowed to have a pastor with him in the execution chamber. 

The case, Dunn v. Smith, decided the issue of whether the inmate was entitled to a spiritual adviser in the death chamber under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which provides protection for prisoners’ religious liberty. 

The court refused to lift an injunction barring the execution of Willie B. Smith III, who was convicted in the 1991 kidnapping, robbery and murder of Sharma Ruth Johnson, who was abducted at gunpoint from an ATM. SCOTUS held that Alabama had failed to justify its policy of barring all spiritual advisers from the execution chamber.

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